How to Use The Prairie Dog Shovel

The Prairie Dog Shovel may seem pretty self-explanatory, but in actuality, this trowel should come with an instruction manual.

Truth is, digging a hole can be achieved with just about any pointy implement; I've seen backpackers pry up dusty chunks of earth with the tips of their trekking poles. Not a speedy process when you're pinching a loaf.

The Prairie Dog Shovel with intuition alone will deliver solid digging performance.  That being said, a few best practices will help you channel your inner dirt ripping rodent.

  1. Assess your digging site.  Choose one that complies with Leave No Trace best practices, and looks the least rocky, tamped down, and hardened.
  2. Start you excavation with the narrow side of the shovel.  You will find the most comfort and leverage by pinching the wide end of the shovel with both hands using your thumbs and index fingers.  Use this spade face to pry away small rocks and pierce deep into the soil. Use this motion in a complete circle to cut a plug into the ground.
  3. Flip to the wider shovel face using a typical one handed grip on the narrow end of the shovel.  Place your thumb on the inner valley of the shovel. Scoop and dump dirt from the hole.  The wider face is also excellent for carving the established hole wider and deeper.
  4. Once the initial plug is removed, switch back to the narrow face to dig any additional depth you need (6" min).
  5. Use the wide face to remove any remaining loose soil.  Congrats on making your very own camp toilet.


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